As I was reading auto and apartment listings in the Seattle Weekly, my eyes drifted towards the personal ads. In New York City, personal ads were for sadomasochists, transvestites, etc. But here in Seattle, the ads seemed to be written by normal people. I mentioned this to Ashley.
“I know someone who married a man she met through the personals! You should definitely write one! Karen, if anyone needs to get married, it’s you. I could never afford this house on my salary alone.”
My ad read: “SWF, new in town, looking for SWM. New in town, Ivy League educated, long legged F seeks noble voracious reader with tantalizing mind. I love tennis and sailing. Must be financially and emotionally mature.”
Ashley insisted I put that last part in. I didn’t really love tennis or sailing, although I had taught tennis and spent weekends of my childhood sailing on my father’s boat.
I received 60 responses, and Ashley invited her friends over to help me decide which ones I would date. There was a male model who just included a photograph , with no letter. Ashley said no. We narrowed it down to three men. Most letters were eliminated because they began with “Hi Baby.”
Ashley and Mike were going away one weekend, and I was to house sit and dog sit their mixed breed rescue dog, Sunshine. I was the one who walked Sunshine now.
I had bought a maroon Honda hatchback with the money saved from my telemarketing and Amway jobs and my mother’s help. It was my first car.
I was coming home from the dog park with Sunshine in the car when I locked the car door with the house keys inside the car. I panicked, not knowing what to do. I was in real trouble. And then it started to pour. Here I was, outside in the rain with Sunshine, and no place to go.
Desperate, I went to a neighbor’s house, and knocked on the door. An old man answered. I explained my situation, and he invited me in. He had probably seen me naked in the outdoor jacuzzi. His wife offered me tea, which I accepted. They spoke with thick German accents. Thank God they were home. The old man said we should check the house to see if there were any open windows, and call a locksmith.
The old man actually found an open window on the first floor. He climbed in, and let us in. I was so thankful and relieved. The locksmith came and opened the car door. I never mentioned a word of this incident to Ashley, who already thought I was flaky.
Then one of the men from the personal ad called me. I told him my address and he said he would come pick me up. When Ashley called to check in with me, she freaked out when I told her about the date coming to the house,
“You gave a stranger our address? Karen, he could be a serial killer, and he knows you’re alone in the house!” Oh God. I had made another dangerous mistake. I felt sick to my stomach, and very much afraid. This was TedBundyville.
The stranger arrived at my door, and of course he looked nothing like his photograph. He sported a mullet, which was a deal breaker. I was afraid of what he’d do if I rejected him, so I stupidly got into his car. He drove me downtown and took me to a raucously loud bar in Pioneer Square. We could barely talk to each other over the noise. I was bored and uncomfortable. Fortunately, this was Seattle, and he was harmless, taking me home safely.